Optimising overhead crane operations with digital modelling

The Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) recently worked with a construction organisation to develop a modelling framework designed to simulate and optimise the performance of overhead crane systems within factories.


Within the fast-paced manufacturing and industrial operations industries, efficiency is essential to ensure projects are completed on time.

Understanding the complexities of path planning and scheduling for overhead crane systems poses a significant challenge for organisations. There are many uncertainties surrounding crane system performance, such as emergencies, partial failures of the system and other unexpected events, which could lead to the immobilisation of cranes. When factory designers are faced with the intricacies of incorporating a crane system into a wider planning process, new innovative solutions are required to predict the performance of these complex systems. 

Designing a factory floor that accommodates multiple overhead cranes, each assigned specific tasks and schedules, poses a challenge for traditional planning methods. These methods often struggle to efficiently manage the complex network of cranes, resulting in potential delays, conflicts, and higher costs. As industries progress, there is a growing recognition of the need for innovative solutions that can effectively address these challenges.

The Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) has developed a new cutting-edge modelling framework designed to transform the way overhead crane systems are planned and optimised in factories, warehouses and industrial environments. This modelling tool goes beyond traditional methods, offering a comprehensive approach to optimise operations, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficiency.

The modelling framework provides the ability to simulate the performance of overhead crane systems and optimise crane configurations. Designers and planners can now efficiently route a network of cranes based on site configurations and task lists, minimising delivery schedule durations and eliminating pathing conflicts. The tool’s scenario modelling feature allows organisations to understand the impact of potential disruptions, such as crane immobilisation for maintenance, on overall delivery rates.

Designed primarily for factories, warehouses, and industrial environments, this modelling framework can be used in any location which uses overhead crane systems. From conceptualising an entire factory to validating daily delivery plans, the tool caters to a wider range of applications. 


Improved operational efficiency: Increase operational efficiency, saving both time and costs. This modelling framework can efficiently route cranes ensuring streamlined operations and reduced delivery schedule durations.

Enhanced planning procedures: Organisations can use the tool to run scenario models for planning procedures. It can identify potential bottlenecks, optimise task schedules, and enhance overall planning processes for improved efficiency.

Cost savings: By incorporating CFMS’s modelling framework into planning processes, organisations can gain significant cost savings. Proactive planning and scenario modelling can lead to enhanced resource optimisation, streamlining overall operations. 

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